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More truth on Zer01

Just this morning we linked to an IDG News Service report that shows some shady dealings from Zer01 Mobile. As I made my news rounds this morning, I came across yet another Nancy Gohring report, this one a follow-up to the original. A key component of the first report was Zer01 CEO Ben Piilani’s relationship with Mark Petschel, a multi-level marketer who has been convicted of securities fraud. “The two first met in May,” the original said, with Piilani as the source. Gohring later noted Piilani’s claim that he didn’t know about Petschel’s legal history until recently. The new report, also by Gohring, places a question mark on that claim.

As Gohring notes, there has been some connection between the two prior to Zer01:

Several Global Verge marketers have Web sites that include links to a Global Verge program for selling PC equipment. Prior to Wednesday, the URL for that program,, opened a Web site for Piilani Computers, described as a division of UTG. One of the marketer’s Web sites includes that link on a page dated Dec. 17, 2008. Piilani’s biography said that one of his former companies, I-Net, also sold the Piilani Computers line.

But by Wednesday, the “Piilani Computers” headline on the top of the page was replaced by the words “Your Smart Choice.” In some areas of the country, the Piilani Computers banner is still visible.

The report goes on to note that the website of Unified Technology Group, the parent company of Zer01 and of which Piilani is also chairman and CEO, has stripped its website of much information since the initial report. “The Web site for UTG no longer features executive bios, company addresses, some previously provided telephone numbers or links to related companies such as Yorkshire Investments or the Yorkshire Foundation.” UTG also stripped physical addresses from the site. Those had caused some controversy in the original report as well.

Then there’s the issue of the patent. Zer01 is said to have patent-pending technology which enables them to run their network. No such patent was found under Zer01 or UTG. Gohring reports that Ron Dresner, UTG spokesperson, said he would provide a patent number. To this point he has not done so.

So far nothing but the offering — $80 per month for unlimited everything, prepaid — seems good right now. And when the offering doesn’t seem quite right, there’s usually something afoot. Many thanks to Gohring for uncovering this relevant information about Zer01.